Nightly rentals & 2nd homeowners
As a local realtor, I frequently have been asked why can’t Mammoth homes be rented nightly/weekly, similar to Mammoth condos. My experience is that many single family residence home owners and potential home buyers would like the opportunity to do so. When our Town sent warning letters to potential Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) violators, threatening citations and legal action, it netted hundreds of thousands of dollars between January and November 2012. I wonder how much would the Town’s TOT revenue be increased if it were legal to rent residential homes on a nightly/weekly basis?
I find it ironic that the Town of Mammoth, Planning Department has not sent a current survey letter to all of the Mammoth residential property owners —primary and second home owners — asking if they would like to be able to rent out their homes on a nightly/weekly basis.
By simply asking all our home owners the following three questions, the Town and community will have at least some of the facts they seek:
As a Mammoth Lakes home owner, if the Town were to permit you to rent your home on a nightly/weekly basis, would you be interested? Yes or No?
If the Town of Mammoth were to allow nightly/weekly home rentals, do you think it would improve the value your property? Yes or No?
If you could rent your home nightly/weekly, do you think this would create local jobs and help economically through collection of TOT taxes? Yes or No?
If Mr. Wilbrecht wants to bring a sense of equality and fairness to our Mammoth home owners, at least include all of them in this discussion. Then the Town can evaluate the true potential of allowing home owners to legally have transient rentals at their property.
To my knowledge, CCRs can be amended by a vote of property owners within their subdivision. Our town’s zoning and special use permits can also be changed as our community changes with the times.
I have listened to the pros and cons about this issue for many years. I feel it’s time we hear directly from the second home owners, who at least should have the right to be able to participate in this conversation. This will bring a clearer vision of the economic future of our resort town.
Some people choose to put their head in the snow about this issue and are not willing to consider the merits of the opposing side’s argument. I recall that at one time, Mammoth Mountain would not let snowboarders on their mountain. Today the snowboarding industry is a large and important part of our community.
Our community will not forget this airport debacle hanging over our heads at $2 million/year for 23 years. I feel we need a viable solution to pay off the debt resulting from the misguided direction to which our town leaders have subjected us. Permitting single family homes to be rented nightly/weekly could be a sustainable financial solution that will help our community more than hurt it. Compromise?
Kudos to Double Eagle
I want to give kudos to Double Eagle Resort for their efforts & investment in creating a new cross country skiing opportunity in June Lake. The new goomed path in Silver Lake Meadow is great!
What a beautiful gift in your sharing Letters to Santa (The Sheet, Dec. 22)
It has been seven years since my beautiful daughter Brittany Marie walked away from me. “I’ll be right back mom” were her last words.
Her sweet essence both haunting in its absence and cherished with every memory.
Her words were spoken with a song. Promising me that she just wanted to see.
See something or someone that could help us.
My brave angel was just 19, a student and a ballerina who gave beauty to every one of my days.
She adored her sweet brothers and cherished every single one of her friends.
Much of the past seven years have been agonizing. Painfully waiting for her return.
I wil, forever cherish the love showered upon me and my boys. Giving us the strength to endure a life without our Bittsie.
Reading the words of the children whose letters you chose … it is an amazing testimony to all our beautiful children.
They are our gifts for however long we are given.
Our joy … forever.
Single-family rentals needs data
In the televised Dec. 19 Town Council meeting, Council gave direction to move forward with a “fact-based analysis” of short-term rentals of single family homes where they are currently prohibited by ordinance. Whatever your opinion concerning this matter, obtaining factual data will lay the basis for a solid decision in the future. Focusing the analysis to make it efficient and effective is crucial. The first step in a focused analysis must consider supply and demand in Mammoth Lakes. Data accurately collected and displayed would then dictate whether or not to take any further steps.
The current dispute has proponents stating that we do not have single-family homes for rent, and therefore we are losing customers, making this a matter of urgency. Opponents state that we have this product, but perhaps it is not being marketed well. As there is no centralized inventory of legally-zoned stand-alone homes, there is no data to back up either side’s claims.
The creation of such an inventory would consist of “legal” zoning classifications for short-term rentals (resort, multi-family, North Village SP, others) to identify the existing type and number of structures (e.g. stand-alone homes within each “legal” subdivision). This would answer the question of: How many existing stand-alone homes are zoned for short-term rentals? At a more detailed second-level of inventory, it would be helpful to include such features as number of beds, baths, garages, other parking, square footage, etc.
Other questions which need to be answered in an analysis of supply:
Of those existing structures, how many are occupied by permanent residents?
How many are current second-home owners who do not wish to rent?
The remainder tells us how many are currently available for short-term rentals.
Also, do these subdivisions have CC&Rs which prohibit short-term rentals?
And, how many legal stand-alone homes have been approved for future development?
The next important data to collect involves demand, or, what is the current occupancy rate? While this is not an easy part of the analysis, this is of great importance to the TOT task force, and will yield the highest “bang for the buck.” As legal rentals are identified through an inventory process, more business/TOT licenses will be issued, back TOT taxes collected, and future TOT assured. Also, as this data is collected, it will clearly tell us whether we have adequate “product” in our town or not. If we have adequate “product,” but occupancy is low, then perhaps we need to market what we have much better. Some sort of centralized website would be helpful for VRBOs, property managers, the town, and even MLT to better direct guests who are looking for this theoretically missing product.
One clear example occurred during the Council meeting which illustrates our problem: Councilmember John Eastman asked about the number of stand-alone homes in the Stonegate complex, and staff answered that they were “condos,” not “homes.” Both, in fact, were correct, but were speaking on two different levels. In fact, Stonegate contains 13 stand alone luxury homes, but because they are clustered on a single, undivided parcel, they are legally classified as a condominium project within the North Village Specific Plan. It’s important to recognize that a guest seeks a product (stand-alone home), and does not care about its zoning or ownership status. Our challenge is to correctly identify the prouct in our legally zoned areas, and to better market it if its occupancy is low.
A detailed inventory of what we have would therefore be the first step of the analysis, and would give us the answer to “go”, “no go” or possibly “not yet.” It also might answer the Zoning/General Plan amendment questions, which have been posed.
The occupancy question, while a moving target, also gives a clearer picture of product demand and TOT potential. Both of these are critical questions that must be answered before Council can make a “fact-based” decision on whether to take the next steps or not.
It is essential that the analysis does not begin with the wider questions of what other communities have done, as that could be an endless and fruitless research project. That would come in later stages of the analysis, if the initial analysis shows that there is a need to move forward. The first question is only that of supply and demand in Mammoth Lakes.